My Amazon Instant Video Experience

Earlier today was the first time I bought anything from Amazon Instant Video. Let me tell you about my experience.

I quickly found what I was looking for and painlessly bought the episode I was on. Wonderful, and typical of my usual Amazon experiences. To make it even better it even started to play the video at the top of the very page I was on! What a wonderful and well thought out interaction! And that is where things fell apart.

I have a wonderful Internet connection, yet for some reason Amazon deemed that they couldn’t send me more than the lowest possible quality of video. No problem, I’ll just ratchet up the connection quality and tell Amazon to send me higher quality video, my connection can handle it! I click the connection area and nothing happens.

Problem 1: There is no way for me to adjust upward the quality of the stream in case Amazon incorrectly quantifies my streaming ability.

Okay, on the off chance that my network is being saturated by something I’m unaware of, I ran a few tests. Nope, my connection was fine.

Problem 2: Amazon implied that their (software’s) incorrect assessment of my streaming capability was my fault.

Fine, if Amazon is having trouble streaming to me for some reason I’ll just quickly download the video in advance and watch it once I have a copy stored locally.

Problem 3: Amazon Instant Video doesn’t support downloading to Macs. Or iOS.

15 minutes of research and troubleshooting have now passed since I first clicked purchase and I still don’t have a solution I’m happy with. Eventually I suck it up and watch the video in (very) poor video quality.

Problem 4: My experience paying for multimedia was worse than it would have been had I simply gone with an unlawful approach.

And to be constructive instead of just complain, here are some quick solutions to these:

  1. Let me manually select the streaming quality. Believe me, I’ll move it down myself if the stream continues to consume the entire buffer.
  2. Change the language on the “Connection” button to be “Video Quality” (in the player interface). This doesn’t imply that the blame is on my end.
  3. I understand that the iTunes Store has a tremendous advantage on any Apple device but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect the platform! You have an incredibly long list of devices you support yet neglect two platforms that likely have a much greater reach than many of those televisions.

Amazon Instant Video, you can have me as a customer once you fix 1-3. Until then I’ll stick with my more-typical default: doing something else.